Buffalo, N.Y. — Two Buffalo craft breweries have dropped a beer they collaborated on after learning the name and label may be offensive to people of the Hindu faith.
Pressure Drop Brewing and Big Ditch Brewing Co. are discontinuing the beer they called “Aqua Shiva” after a protest led by a Nevada-based Hindu activist. Shiva is one of the three major deities or gods in Hinduism.
The label depicted a caricature of the Hindu deity.
“We very recently became aware that our collaborative beer, Aqua Shiva, was offensive to Hindus,” the breweries said in a statement released by Rajan Zed, the Hindu activist who led the protest. “We deeply apologize to the Hindu community for this poor choice of our beer name and artwork. We simply did not put enough time into thinking about this beer name and artwork and what the use of the name Shiva means to the Hindu community. This beer is discontinued and will never be made again… “
Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, thanked the brewers for their quick decision to discontinue the beer.
Zed’s news release said “Lord Shiva” is highly revered in Hinduism and is meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines and “not to be used in a re-imagined version for pushing beer or to adorn beer cans.”
“Breweries should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, and ridiculing entire communities,” Zed’s statement said. “It was deeply trivializing of divine Hindu deity to be displayed on a beer can.”
Zed has also led campaigns asking bars and restaurants to stop using depictions of Hindu religious figures in their decor.
Aqua Shiva was a hazy, New England-style double IPA, and was part of a series of “deity” themed beers made by Big Ditch and Pressure Drop. Others in the series have included “Aqua Jesus” and “Aqua Buddha.”
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents worldwide, Zed’s statement said. There are about 3 million Hindus in the United States, he said.
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